Bible Studies

Shaking the dust off

by | Jan 10, 2024 | Bible Study, church hurt | 0 comments


“Shaking The Dust Off” 

There are many passages where we see Jesus and His disciples shake the dust off their feet.  It’s something we pray never has to happen as we share the word but it happens and it happens alot in the Bible. Today we will focus on Acts 13: 13-52 but first let’s get ourselves caught up on the previous passages . After the encounter with the magician/sorcerer/son of the devil, Paul leaves their company. Barnabas and Saul continue on their missionary journey. On the sabbath day they find themselves where they should, at the synagogue! They read from the Torah then an announcement was made for any one who had an exhortation to speak up. Paul, of course speaks up! Love His boldness!  I have some practical application we can take from the simple obedience of Paul to take an opportunity when it comes his way.
Paul is on his “missionary journey”. We speak as if that is something different than we are to do every day. We are all on a missionary journey. Our missionary journey may not take us to different countries and districts but we are on mission every single day. My childhood pastor used to call it “marketplace evangelism”. It’s an “as you go” mission. Don’t put lights and cameras around Pauls journey as if it is so much different than yours. Yes! He went to a new people group and shared it with them but you are doing the exact same thing. Sharing it to the ends of the earth is still happening with you and I. What does yours look like? Where are you going?
vs. 15. NASB says, “Any have an exhortation say it”…. So good! This seems to be done in order but everyone who had a word spoke it. Paul makes sure to tell the whole story of God’s people in a few short verses. This way of telling God’s story is all over the word of God. It reminds me I need to be better about encapsulating the gospel so I can deliver it well. I love that Paul is focused on (vs17) about making sure (He) led them out of Egypt. (He) dealt with them while they were being a pain in the wilderness. (He) gave them their inheritance….and on and on. He continues on and tells that Jesus was raised from the dead and you killed him. It’s a great discourse right here in the middle of Acts 13. There is so much here within these verses. Paul makes sure they hear the full gospel. They get it from the horses mouth. He even hits that your law won’t save you! Being obedient to all the rules won’t save you! It’s Jesus Christ alone. I mean Paul is bold to lay it out straight. Some liked it. Some didn’t! Same goes for today! Being bold will require you being willing to ruffle feathers.  I will say as a side note…Pauls delivery seems to be facts without the angst we sometimes give during our delivery. Paul delivers it plain and simple. I think our delivery needs a little angst and a little more direct delivery and let God deal with the rest.  Just a little personal commentary there…
v 43-51. Some liked it. Some didn’t! Many Jews stayed close to them after this discourse and begged them to come again the next sabbath and teach. So they did! As you can imagine when almost the whole city shows up to hear the word they have to bring not everyone is excited about it.Verse 44 tells us jealousy broke out “because of the crowds”. Jealousy over a following….Not much different than today.  This jealousy lead to persecution.(vs 50). There is alot in these few chapters but as it applies to us today we see how “a following” can get you persecuted. Lines are always drawn around religious things. You speak Jesus…prepare for the following and the fallout! Jealousy turned to persecution….all over “following”. This happens in the things of God. Wow just wow!! Over followings…around the temple! SHEW!!!! The Jews get a mob formed to persecute Paul and Barnabas. They even run them out of the district! Today it plays out like this! We disagree with someone over a biblical interpretation of something and we blaspheme them. We don’t do it publicly but we do it under our breath and at our dinner table with like minded individuals. We can’t really walk out verse 50 where they run them out of our district but we run them out of our circles of influence because we don’t like their teachings. When jealousy, slander or difference of theological views cause jealousy within the body of Christ to the extent that we “run others influence for the kingdom off”, its time to shake some dust off our feet.
Obedience is ours results are His is a phrase that my good friend Heather uses often when I am in the weeds of hardship in ministry!  I’ve heard her say it alot! God knows I need it. So many times when we do the work of the Lord and we hit a road block we want to stay and defend what we believe. We want the debate! We want to find common ground. It’s crazy to me that the common ground of Christ is not enough but sometimes it’s not. God help us!!! So what do you do when moments like verse 44-49 happen? Jesus is pretty plain about it in Mark chapter 6. A quick explanation of these verses is this: when you have spoken the word and you are not received, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them. Jesus says this. Jesus didn’t argue fuss and fight. This right here, this thought, could be an entire sermon.  Jesus didn’t aruge fuss and fight.  Christians!  Let me say it one more time for the people in the back….Jesus didn’t argue fuss and fight, only the religious did that.  Man! Thats a line in the sand right there!  He didn’t teach his disciples to yell and fuss over the gospel. When people weren’t open to the gospel Jesus simply modeled to them that they shake the dust off their feet and move on….Its my understanding that when you shook the dust off your feet, it was an outward proclamation that they were a heathen! Tough stuff!! In Acts chapter 13, this is exactly what they do. They have proclaimed the WORD. The WORD that has spoken is rejected. Shaking the dust off your feet is sometimes the move that is required. 
What a reminder to me that I am not responsible for the results. I am only responsible to preach the message. I am to bring the WORD to light, to ask questions of the body of Christ and to point them to Him. Are we being obedient to do that and nothing more. Realigning my heart that the results of the message I bring has weight to it for each of us. No more going toe to toe with believers who disagree, friends! No more going toe to toe with unbelievers. This is what is happening here. No more church!! Can I be a little preachy here? No more! No more staying and arguing with an unbelieving world.
Proclaim the truth and keep your joy intact.
More on that in a bit! No more jealousy because one house in your community has more followers so we run them out on a rail at our dinner table.
Church, can I just say as kindly as I can? Stop this mess! Would Jesus have to shake the dust off his feet at your house? Technically we do the exact same thing here! I know this is a Jew/Gentile issue I get it, but this plays out very similarly….and we know it. This should quicken our hearts to sit in some dust and ashes and repent. I’ve learned some valuable lessons sitting with this passage. I’ve been the one to run people out on a rail “out of the district” as verse 50 says. As I mature I’m mortified. God help us ALL work together to see the WORD go forward. Again unity is so needed to be displayed. We have work to do and that includes me!
They shake the dust off their feet then what happens? Verse 52 is the most wonderful ending to this horrific story in verses 44-51! The disciples don’t leave distraught. They don’t leave and get in a huddle and thrash the jealous people about. No. They go on about sharing the gospel filled with joy and with Holy Spirit. WOW! They don’t seem to do this in anger. It seems to be a “we’ve spoken truth, you’ve rejected it, now we move on” kind of a thing! We recognize you are a heathen so we move on to speak truth to the next town. Gosh so much in this to unpack!
How many of us would  or have spent months healing from a “church” wound like this?  Now this hits way too close to home! There are websites and programs that deal with these things. People deconstructing, people battling church hurt and all the things. Heck you guys I have walked this road! I’ve walked it more than once! Let’s go back to point 4. Obedience is ours. Results are His. I love that the early church got that in the marrow of their bones. Even after a devastating blow of rejection and persecution, they do what Jesus has taught them to do (shake the dust off) and are being continually filled with joy and with Holy Spirit (NASB). What a word! I use lots of words but …they moved on, folks. The disciples share the word! It is rejected! They move on! They move on with joy and still filled with Holy Spirit. They didn’t lose their joy because someone was jealous or that someone persecuted them. They knew the score. They knew rejection was part of preaching truth.
These points have quickened me! These points have humbled me! I have been face to face with myself in these passages. I have learned how to respond when disagreements break out. If I can’t walk away filled with joy and with Holy Spirit still jumping inside of me, I have work to do!


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